July 06, 2021

Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch - The 5 Love Languages  

We all want to be loved. But the question is, how? How can we communicate to those we love how we want them to love us and learn how to love them in return? In his book, qualified marriage counsellor Dr. Gary Chapman provides five proven approaches on how we can show and receive love that will help us experience and reach deeper and richer levels of intimacy with our partners.

Dr. Gary Chapman is not only a best-selling author, with over 12 million book sales, who’s been on New York Times best-sellers list since 2007 for his ‘The 5 Love Languages’ series, he is also a well-known speaker, marriage counselor and marriage seminar director. He has a passion for people and for helping them find ways to form lasting relationships.

His love of helping people began in his early ministry years, where he was directly involved in real-life family counseling. He, together with his work, can be found on his nationally-syndicated radio programs that air nationally on the Moody Radio Network and over 400 other affiliate stations.

Through his ‘The 5 Love Languages’ series, he has helped couples, parents, teenagers, and even singletons learn about the value of communication, physical touch, and listening to each other. Below are the five love languages we all can relate to that will help in forming lasting bonds with family, friends and our dear loved ones.

Words of Affirmation

We all like hearing the words, ‘I love you’ being said by our partners, especially if those words are genuine and honest. This is because words mean everything. Words can affirm that our partners acknowledge us and that our efforts are being recognized and appreciated, no matter how small they are. It’s the attention to detail that really stands out though, for example, a remark they make on our change of hairstyle or when they notice that we’ve dressed differently when we are getting ready for work. It shows that they are paying attention, and this makes us feel cherished.

So, if our partner’s love language is words of affirmation, we want to try and communicate our appreciation by sending unexpected notes, or cards, positively commenting on the good things that they do, and continuously giving them genuine words of encouragement.

Types of words of affirmation include sayings such as:

  1. ‘I love you’
  2. ‘You are special to me’
  3. ‘It really impressed me when you...’
  4. ‘I couldn’t have done______ without you’

Quality time

In this busy life we lead, finding time to spend with our partner isn't always easy. We do, though, feel all kinds of special when our partners do take the time to set aside time for us, prioritize us in their schedule, and keep their promises on previously made plans. For those of us whose love language is quality time, we feel the most adored when our partners actively want to spend time with us and just hang out. We also love it when our partners actively listen, maintain eye contact, and are fully present in the relationship.

Quality time involves that one-on-one uninterrupted time with our partners, that unbroken focus with that one special person where we enjoy each other with undivided attention. No distractions - meaning no cellphones, television, or any other outside interference. Remember, quality time does not have to involve lavish destination holiday getaways that break the bank, it could be as simple as taking walks together, having long deep-meaningful conversations or just talking about the activities of the day. It's about enjoying our partner’s presence and company and having a strong desire to be in their space.

Ideas on how to show love to someone whose love language is quality time:

  1. Always begin and end the day together
  2. Have genuine interest in what they say, and their feelings 
  3. Have a regular date night schedule
  4. Plan staycations 

Acts of service

The saying ‘talk is cheap’ is something we are all too familiar with. Actions mean everything. Sometimes it's not enough to just say things or tell someone that you will do something. We need to come through on our words and be reliable. Show, not just tell.

Acts of Service is a language that can best be described as doing something for our partners we know they would like and appreciate, such as helping with dirty dishes, driving the kids to school, or even cooking a simple meal. But acts of service go beyond household chores and duties. It involves paying attention to the small things- like how much sugar our partner likes in their coffee, or what their favorite show is and what time it airs.

We need to go above and beyond with our actions to show our love. Everyone interprets this love language differently, so it's important to have open and honest conversations with our partners - asking them directly what they need. Only then can we understand which acts of service are important to them. This is a love language every single one of us can relate to. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate a helping hand or a back rub after a long day every once in a while.

Types of acts of service include:

  1. Encouraging our partners to go see their friends or do an activity they like
  2. Creating a workout or self-care playlist for them
  3. Scheduling a visit or now more so a video call so they can catch up with their loved ones 

Receiving Gifts 

We all love getting gifts, that is a given. More so when we haven’t done anything specific to get those gifts, when they are not ‘thank you for...’ gifts. For those of us whose love language is receiving gifts, presents are a physical symbol of our partner’s love. Granted, the present itself is nice, but what we really love and appreciate is the thought behind it, the element of surprise that comes with it, and the thrill in unwrapping the gift. A gift is our partner’s way of telling us that they were thinking of us, which makes us feel special and fills us with love.

Special occasions mean the world to gift lovers, so make sure to mark the day on the calendar and honor the day with a thoughtful gift. ‘Just because’ gifts earn us extra brownie points - they don’t have to be lavish and expensive, but simple gifts such as a hand-picked flower from the garden or even a cute keychain from a favorite travel destination. Those small gestures can celebrate the relationship in a big way. 

Here are a few gift ideas we could gift our loved ones:

  1. A box of handwritten notes or letters addressed to them
  2. Custom made hampers or gifts
  3. A compiled video of all the moments we’ve created and shared together
  4. A mixtape with all the songs that remind us of them

Physical Touch 

For those of us whose love language is physical touch, we feel loved when our partners show us affection via touch - kissing, holding hands, cuddling on the couch, and sex. Physical intimacy and touch can be incredibly affirming and serves as a powerful emotional connector.

Having physical touch as our love language does not necessarily mean we're all about sex though. It just means we find comfort in our partner's touch, that it’s really soothing and relaxing, and it gives us an extra boost of confidence and a feeling of safety and desire. Physical touch is as easy as laying our heads on our partner's shoulder during a movie, or tapping their butt when we walk by. It’s simple and straightforward, and yet says a lot without any planning, exertion, or money.

People that  have physical touch as a love language might :

  1. Find ways to always be in physical contact a your partner - even just a finger loop
  2. Feel extra loved and special when they receive spontaneous kisses (on the lips, forehead palm etc.)
  3. Focus more on the way partners touch them rather than on what they say
  4. Revel in public displays of affection

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